Have you ever heard that phrase, "you should try to be brilliant at being boring?" With all of the technological advances in computers, hundreds of channels on the cable TV, and music any way that you want it, don't you find more people quickly getting bored at what they do? People surf the internet looking for that funny new You Tube video, only to be quickly bored and searching for their next two minutes of laughter. Every night, loyal Facebook members log in to check out the days events looking for a quick picture of their friends, and then shut themselves down after reading 10 or 20 posts unless something really catches their attention. With nothing to do, Twitter in its own right is simply a way for many to just idly throw their thoughts our there if they've got nothing better to do. Does all of this instant excitement make it harder for people to go to work without being bored?
Many years ago in my corporate life I read the book Mastery by George Leonard. I recommend you read this if you have some time. Leonard talked about the concept of loving the plateau. He discussed that the truly successful people in life realize how work will change from time to time, but learning to enjoy mastering your skills at the highest level is what creates lifelong achievement. Here are a few examples of how being brilliant at being boring can make you get to the top of the mountain at whatever you do.
Yul Brynner became famous when he shaved his head in 1951 for his starring role in the Kind and I. He did that show on Broadway over 1,500 times and his bald head became iconic around the world. Think about it . . . your boss says that you will get paid a ton of money if you come to work every day for the next five years and you have to do the same thing every single day. Could you stomach that? The key is that every night Yul Brynner had a different audience and he knew that although he couldn't change the script of the King and I, he could keep his attitude to make the best performance for the audience every single night.
Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics will surely be a hall of famer. He's got the record for the most three point field goals in NBA history. Ray Allen isn't the biggest, strongest, or fastest NBA player that ever stepped on to the court. However, Ray Allen is legendary for being known as a 'gym rat' signifying the hours upon hours of practicing his form and shot for the fifteen to twenty attempts he would make every night on the NBA center stage. There are very few players that you would want to depend on to make a clutch three point shot or free throw down the stretch other than Ray Allen. He knows that if being boring is shooting 500 to 1,000 shots a day, that work effort is what will put him in the hall of fame.
Michael Phelps won eight gold medals and he'll be back in London this summer. In peak training phases, Phelps swims minimum 80,000 meters a week, which is nearly 50 miles. He practices twice a day, sometimes more if he's training at altitude. Phelps trains for around five to six hours a day at six days a week. To give himself some additional entertainment in the water, Phelps listens to music during his long workouts with waterproof headphones. Swimming in the water, especially that long, can be pretty boring. Listening to music can provide that extra spark to your workout. He also lifts weights three or four days a week and takes in 12,000 calories a day. (source: muscleprodigy.com) Phelps knows that to win Gold, you have to be boring enough to do the same things over and over again.
My first boss in this business told me that the real key skill to learn in life is discipline if I wanted to really hit peak performance both personally and professionally. Years later, I understand that discipline is boring. It's the true measure of really getting things done even when you are not really motivated to get them done. If you are interested in making more money in life, you have to make the smart money move of getting excited around being bored. While it isn't the most fun in the world all the time, those that do it and do it well are rewarded no matter what path in life they choose. Have a boring day!
Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, Inc - The Leaders in Gen X & Y Financial Advice
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